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Angry about the union-busting actions of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and the republican state legislature, I decided to looking more into this idea that state workers are "The Haves", while workers in the private sector are "The Have Nots".  This is my first look at the reality of the republicans' perspective.

Since February of this year, public sector workers have been vilified in the media, having been labeled by Governor Walker as the “haves”.  As a state worker in the “under $20/hr.” category, I have been mystified at this illustration of state workers’ earnings – even with the understanding that there are many workers who are in the $20-30/hr range.  Even by national standards, that places people on the lower end of "middle-class" – far from the range of “The Haves”.  So, out of curiosity, I decided to use the “Wisconsin state employee pay in 2010” look-up feature posted by to check out the earnings of other state workers.

When I found the page, the first thing I noticed was that I could query people who made over $200,000 last year.  That was a bit of a surprise because it never occurred to me that any – much less more than one – state employee could make that much in a year; even more surprising was the list that came up when I queried just that.

What I found was that 66 people made over $200,000 as state employees in 2010, and of those 66:

* nearly half (31) work for the Investment Board;
* about a third (23) work for the Department of Health Services;
* 10 are with Corrections;
* 1 is with Children and Families; and
* 1 is a consultant at the Government Accountability Board.  Yes, you read that right – a consultant.
* 16 of the top 20 earners worked for the Investment Board
* 9 of the top 10 earners worked for the Investment Board

* 8 made over $300,000;
* 3 made over $400,000; and
* 1 made over $500,000.  OVER HALF A MILLION.

* Overtime pay for 1 person (Health Services) was $104,000 – approximately 3 times my earnings
* Overtime pay for 8 people was over $20,000; for 3 of those it was over $30,000.

I found The Haves, and they represent under 1% of state workers.  When I tried to query the Executive Appointees, the search came up empty.  Hmm...

Everyone can draw his/her own conclusions, but I'm not happy to see that - just as on Wall Street - the investment folks make the most.  I'm EXTREMELY not happy to see that.

See the spreadsheet I made on Google Documents.

Originally posted to MadCity Mom on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.


In general, do you believe public sector workers are

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| 16 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  good work... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, buckybadger1988


  •  poll (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue

    public sector workers are ... what?

    Single Payer Single Payer Single Payer Single Payer Single Payer Single Payer Single Payer

    by CalbraithRodgers on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 12:42:11 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the research. I've tipped and rec'd and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ice Blue, MadCity Mom

    republished to Badger State Progressive.

  •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

    Great piece. I just replied to a teabagger on another blog who was raving about public school teachers who make more than $100K a year but are still unhappy. Thing is, the real statistic is that the AVERAGE pay for a Wisconsin teacher is in the low forties, and starting pay is in the low twenties.  But guys like that teabagger aren't interested in facts, only in their own misconceptions that allow them to go on to misconceive a set of "solutions" that will only make things worse. It is no-nothingism.

    •  You need to use the feel, felt, found reply (0+ / 0-)

      when dealing with them.  "You feel that teachers are way over paid, and with your tax dollars.  Many of the people I have talked to felt that way. But the studies we have done, we have found that teachers etc.
      When all else fails, use the 'you might be right'.  When you stop pushing, they argue harder, and harder to try to convince you.  Sometimes they end up convincing themselves.

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 02:07:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know the comments he is talking about, probably (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the Milwaukee paper. Horrible comments today on one article about education. While these comments bug me also, I sort of wonder how legitimate they are.  They seem more designed to discourage teachers than anything else, I am not sure I think all those people believe teachers are really calling in sick, getting paid and protected by their unions.  My guess is there are people being paid to comment there. Or maybe there are people who are that dumb, who are emboldened by their "victory", I don't know.

  •  I would speculate that most (0+ / 0-)

    if not all of the upper income state workers do not belong to a union.  They are likely in professional or management categories and working without a union contract.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 04:30:21 PM PDT

    •  Not a union issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.   I just want to say that this isn't a union issue.  This is about state workers being wrongly labeled and punished.  Most state workers aren't bringing home the bacon hand-over-fist - and certainly not as compared to our private-sector counterparts.  The fact that a very small minority of state employees do make VERY good money, this simply is not the case across the board.  To be sure, we have been wronged.

    •  Correct. All UW faculty also are non-union (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MadCity Mom

      because they were the only group in the state banned from state law from collective bargaining rights, fought for them for decades, and finally -- no thanks to other unions in the UW, sadly -- won a change in the law only last year.

      So only a handful of campuses had been able to schedule the vote on whether to exercise the new right and unionize, and thus had not actually gotten to unionize, before Walker and his minions took the right away again.

      This had an impact in the protests, by the way, because had the faculty across the state been able to speak with one voice, had they had the mechanism in place aka the union, they could have contributed significantly, I think -- a spokesperson in media, a spokesperson on stage, etc.

      And that could have been a powerful voice, statewide.  The absence of that voice mattered as well, I think, because I heard people saying, well, we're not hearing from the UW professors.  Frankly, I have my suspicions that this timing of the effective date of the collective bargaining law for faculty, at last, with the way cleared to begin unionizing just last spring, was exactly why Walker and his minions moved did what they did, as fast as they did.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:08:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They were previously with the AFT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MadCity Mom, buckybadger1988

        which is also the union I belong to (albeit in the health care division).  While AFT is unable to represent them in terms of collective bargaining, AFT and other public and private sector unions are working on their behalf and on behalf of all workers in this state with the goal of restoring this state to rationality and restoring collective bargainging rights to any group that wants to unionize.  Additionally, unions actively work for social and educational programs that improve the lives of everyone.

        I'm sad and upset that my brothers and sisters who work for the state have lost their rights.  I'm also saddened knowing that public sector employees across the state will also lose their rights (except to bargain narrowly for wages with the limit being pre-determined by the state) as soon as their current contracts expire.  I also fear that this is only the first step in the corporate agenda to make Wisconsin a Right To Work (for a whole lot less) State.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 12:10:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only a few percent of them are, who (0+ / 0-)

          joined TAUWP, The Association of UW Professors, which affiliated with AFT -- and more are at the two-year colleges and smaller four-year schools than at the Madison and Milwaukee campuses better placed to be an important voice to media, pols, etc.

          Without collective bargaining rights, why pay dues to an organization?  That meant that most UW faculty never joined.  And TAUWP never really was heard from in the protests. . . .

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:19:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My brother... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MadCity Mom

    ..who works in the private sector, let me drive his Maserati. Funny, he declined my offer to let him drive my 10-year-old Honda CR-V.

    Boy, is he gonna be mad when he finds out that I, a state employee, am one of the haves while he is one of the have nots...

    •  Ha! Our CRV is 12 years old now (2+ / 0-)

      and a wreck, but this state employee is going to be driving it for as many miles as possible, withe the 10 percent pay cut coming, with 3% pay cuts for the last two years, with no raises for the last six years in my pay group.  Yes, we are so grateful to have jobs, we really are -- but am I really supposed to be making less this year than I did 10 years ago in this job?  After dozens of years of schooling to get the job, every credential and degree there can be?

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:12:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Speaking of cars... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cream City, A FIB in Cheddarland

        I drove a 1994 Toyota Previa until last spring when I was able to get a "new" car...a 2001.  Even so, I've been taking the bus to work for months, as driving to work is a privilege I can't afford.  I'm making payments for a car I can no longer afford to drive...and in a month, I may have to look at selling it altogether.  Yes, we Have truly live the good life!


        •  I hear you; I walk to work all that I can (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A FIB in Cheddarland

          as I'm really too close to justify the very costly busfare in my city.  But when the worst of the winter hits, and the student neighbors don't clear their walks before they turn into ice rinks, well . . . I may have to look into whether feeding huskies to pull a sled would be cheaper than gas and car insurance. :-)  

          "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

          by Cream City on Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 06:56:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I am sorry but your numbers are way off (0+ / 0-)

    UW-Madison faculty are state employees. Dozens of UW faculty made over $200K in 2009.

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee probably has a large number of faculty making $200K+ as well.

    •  Um, not quite (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      SOME UW employees are state employees, but faculty are not among those.  The UW is a "quasi-state agency", which means SOME of their employees are funded by the state: grounds and building maintenance, food service, administrative support, and environmental services (custodial) are all state employees.  But professors, doctors, and even the hospital/clinic social workers are not.  

      Even so, if you question my numbers you'll have to talk to the source of that information, and as I understand it, JSOnline gets their information from the State (Dept. of Administration).  They aren't MY numbers.  

      •  All UW faculty are state employees, though (0+ / 0-)

        as subject to all of the same rules, regs, pay cuts, etc.

        You're switching to the state-funded or not argument midstream, which doesn't change the definition of a state employee.  (And all UW faculty are partially state-funded.)

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:25:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I beg to differ... (0+ / 0-)

          As a former UW employee who went from being a state (paid) employee to being a UW (paid) employee mid-employment, I can tell you that faculty (professors) are not considered state employees and are not paid by the state.  They are not subject to the same work rules, and their paychecks have the UW logo and come from a UW pot of money - not DOA.  UW is a quasi-state agency and I can't find any "professor", "instructor" or "teacher" classification with the state. I've actually called someone at the Office of State Employment Relations to confirm/deny this, but you can feel free to look yourself (OSER Reference Section).  I don't know what you know, but I know that without a state classification, it's hard to say it's a state position.  

          •  Um, maybe in Mad City (0+ / 0-)

            but not at my UW campus.  And I am a professor.  And my paychecks state that they are from the State of Wisconsin.  And I have the complete UW Policies and Practices that rule me.

            And, of course, when Doyle imposed the fake furloughs -- fake for faculty, as we were told to not reduce work at all -- he stated that even federally funded faculty and staff were state employees, because the federal funds are channeled through the state coffers.  And an appeal to OSER on that failed; OSER stated then that we all are state employees (so the state had to send back part of those federal funds; Doyle did a lot of damage, too, even before Walker).

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 01:50:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, according to... (0+ / 0-)

              the online database on JSOnline, where I got my data, "This database does not contain those employed by the University of Wisconsin System, the state legislature or state courts system as those employees are paid from different sources." (emphasis added)

              According to the Department of Financial Institutions, "Approximately 45,000 persons are employed in classified civil service positions by over 60 State agencies including non-teaching positions at University of Wisconsin campuses." (emphasis added)

              So - without confirmation from OSER or the UW human resources department as of yet (both have been contacted about this) -  professors are not state employees.  Though you have said you are a professor, you've offered nothing to back up your claims.  If you can provide something, I would be open to adjusting my comments, but without some kind of confirmation or proof, I will go with what I know and what I can show. Again, according to OSER, there is no civil service classification for any kind of UW faculty, and classifications for positions that I know exist within the UW system state as much in the classification description.  Not sure where else to go with this discussion without confirmation, but I'll let you know what I find out.  

    •  UWM faculty making that much? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Nope.  Very few.  Lots of reports are out there showing  that they're 'way behind in salaries, behind Madison and behind peer urban institutions.

      For one thing, UW-Milwaukee has less than half as many faculty as has Madison (although the Milwaukee campus has more than 30,000 students, and the Madison campus 40,000).   Lots and lots of part-time wage slaves at UWM, many more large classes, etc.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Mon Aug 15, 2011 at 07:23:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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